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The H-1B visa allows qualified workers from foreign countries to work in the United States. Foreign workers who meet the required conditions and their potential employers must undergo a lengthy process to get this visa.

Working closely with an H1B visa lawyer is best to help you navigate the legal process. You may be able to expedite your H-1B visa and have a better chance of being selected for one. Call American Immigration Law Group for help today at 314-416-8000 or use our online contact form to reach out for a free consultation.

What Is an H-1B Visa?

An H-1B visa is an employment-based visa that allows American employers to hire foreign nationals in specialty occupations. People obtaining an H-1B visa typically have a bachelor’s degree or higher education and often work in engineering, technology, medicine, and other careers that require advanced skills.

H-1B Visa Benefits

One of the biggest benefits of the H-1B visa is that it is a “dual intent” visa. That means that although it is a temporary visa, holders may obtain a green card and permanent residency. The H-1B visa is a great option for educated immigrants with a job offer from a U.S. employer.

Who Qualifies for an H-1B Visa?

There are requirements for the employer and the H-1B visa applicant.

Only Specialty Occupations Qualify

The job that is being offered must be considered a “specialty occupation.” That includes careers that require a bachelor’s degree or other advanced education or training. Some examples of qualifying positions include professors, researchers, engineers, medical professionals, accountants, attorneys, and architects.

Education and Work Requirements

There are also requirements placed on the type of education an individual has received. The degree they possess must originate from an accredited university or college. It must also be directly related to the H-1B specialty position. If the degree was obtained outside of the United States, then it must be equivalent to a degree available in the United States.

Work experience is not required and can be substituted for education requirements. Generally, three years of work experience is required for every one year of education required.

Wage Requirements

Additional requirements are placed upon the employer regarding how much the H-1B position pays. The average wage paid to the foreign professional must be equivalent to that of U.S. employees in similar fields. The employer must also prove they have the funds necessary to pay the foreign professional.

Other Requirements for the Employer

The employer must meet other requirements before hiring a foreign national, including:

  • The foreign national’s employment cannot affect U.S. working conditions in similar fields.
  • The employer must internally post a notice of filing for the H-1B visa.
  • There may not be an existing strike or layoff within the intended field.
  • If the employer terminates the foreign national’s employment, it must pay expenses to transport them back to their country of origin.
  • There must be an official job offer that signifies a valid business need of the employer.

What about Family of H-1B Visa Holders?

The family, including the spouse and any unmarried children of an H-1B visa holder, may be admitted to the United States through the H-4 visa process. However, the H-4 visa does not allow those individuals to work while in the country.

If you have an H-1B visa and want your family to come to the United States, contact an H1B immigration attorney who can guide you through the process. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal immigration options and help you find the best path available.

H-1B Visa Process

Obtaining an H-1B visa involves a complex process. Both the potential employer and visa applicant have steps to take.

Find a Sponsoring Employer

The first step for an H-1B visa applicant is to find a potential employer who meets the necessary qualifications. That employer must be willing to sponsor the applicant through a qualifying job in the United States.

Filing a Petition with the USCIS

The potential employer must file an H-1B sponsorship petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf.

The petition must include:

  • A Form I-129 for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • Evidence of a valid labor certification
  • Evidence you are qualified for the specialty occupation
  • Evidence you meet minimum education and experience requirements
  • Evidence that the salary offered is equal to or greater than the prevailing wage
  • Payment of government filing and processing fees

Attend an Interview at the U.S. Consulate

If your potential employer’s petition is approved, you will attend an interview at a U.S. Consulate in your home country. A consular officer will determine your eligibility for an H-1B visa.

Obtain an H-1B Visa

If you are approved for an H-1B visa, you will be allowed to enter the United States and work for the sponsoring employer.

How Many H-1B Visas Are Granted Annually?

The number of H-1B visas issued each year is capped at 65,000. 20,000 H-1B visas are reserved for people with a master’s degree or higher.

Some jobs are considered cap exempt. Those include careers related to nonprofit entities, nonprofit research, institutes of higher education, and government research organizations.

How Long Can H-1B Visa Holders Stay in the U.S.?

An individual with an H-1B visa can stay in the United States as a non-immigrant worker for up to three years. However, that period may be extended. The total length of time in the United States on an H-1B visa typically cannot extend beyond six years, although there are some exceptions.

What Are the Fees?

There are different fees for H-1B visas depending on the type of petition that is being filed and the size of the employer. Fees for various parts of the process can range from $150 to $4,000. In most cases, multiple fees will be added together for each petition.

If you hire an H1B immigration lawyer, you will also have legal fees involved. However, your H1B lawyer can ensure you complete the paperwork properly, provide appropriate evidence, and expedite the process.

Contact an H-1B Visa Lawyer Today

We know that the H-1B visa process can be complicated. It’s important to work with an attorney who understands immigration law and can relieve your stress throughout the process. The legal team at American Immigration Law Group is here for you.

Call us today at 314-416-8000 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation for your case.